WordPress Overkill: Tips to fix no loading, no admin CSS

WordPress logo sticker

This is the definitive guide to WordPress overkill or how not to spend your night sleepless trying to figure out what the heck is wrong. Remember, every blog is unique and as Matt says, chances are there’s no one in the room with the same plugins installed. If you get yourself in a situation where you home page is not loading but the mobile version of the blog is working fine or suddenly WordPress admin has no CSS loading keep reading.

Functions.php

WordPress theme developement guidelines mentions “A theme can optionally use a functions file, which resides in the theme subdirectory and is named functions.php. This file basically acts like a plugin, and if it is present in the theme you are using, it is automatically loaded during WordPress initialization (both for admin pages and external pages)”.

In a nutshell if there is anything wrong with your blog and you even remotely thought of changing anything in functions.php (resides in your theme’s folder) go back and undo. Functions.php is very important to your WordPress blog, way more important than you think it is. If you mess functions.php, prepare for no loading errors and downtime unless you know what you’re doing or you know others who know what to do.

No CSS in WordPress admin

There are not enough reasons for WordPress to go all blank and vanilla in the admin area. If that happens make sure your web server’s Mimetype is properly declared and assigned. Caching and minifying CSS issues can get your blog CSS naked but not the admin area. Make sure you try at least one vanilla web server config before going into the trouble of uninstalling all your plugins and ask for help on the WordPress forums.

Don’t rush plugin updates

We all want to run the latest and greatest version of WordPress and plugins but there are times plugins can bring the world down. Unless the new plugin version fixes a major security hole, wait for a few days after each new release and update late. You need to avoid the situation where a tiny, stupid bug brings down your blog because it conflicts with certain plugins or plugin configuration you only have installed. Installing an older, not outdated, version of a plugin is a good way to test proof.

The Agnostic Platform: We’re Building Our Own God

server rack

Exciting times we live. The dawn of the 21st century tipped the point for cheap and reliable smartphone and tablet hardware. In the low and mid end of the market, hardware turned to a commodity. The high end of the market is following. In a nutshell, it just doesn’t matter if you are using a $200 Android phone or a $350 one. What is important is the content users create, the information they exchange, the social graph they enrich.

The hardware is not relevant anymore, neither are the air waves. No matter what happens in the foreseeable future (except a WW3 event) both hardware and the medium for transferring information will always be available to more people, cheaper and faster.

Major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google, WordPress and soon Apple is what actually matters. What we see, what we feel and most of our relationships are stored somewhere, in an agnostic platform along with a huge amount of meta data like location information, time information, reactions from others etc. We increasingly upload chunks of our lives on this platform without knowing anything about it.

When was the last time you trusted a complete stranger with your life, no questions asked, in the real world? There is only one case and that’s religion. It fits perfectly. In a not collective intelligence way, the agnostic platform is preparing the new human; we’re building our own new god because we need it and we are doing so by uploading our lives on Facebook, Twitter, Google, WordPress and Apple servers. They know more about us than we do for ourselves, they are everywhere, they are available all the time; like god.

+1 feature Gmail is missing: scroll down to auto load more

gmail auto load new conversations mockup

There’s one thing Gmail is missing at the moment, a killer feature that will transform the way people use Gmail and interact with conversations in their inbox. I want Gmail to automatically load new conversations and emails when reaching the bottom of the page, instead of clicking on the previous and next buttons. It’s a simple feature saving time, clicks and make the whole experience more fluid. The same way Twitter loads new tweets and Facebook loads new posts on the wall.

Why is such a feature missing? I can only assume it’s not a Google thing to do or engineers are so hooked to previous and next buttons they don’t bother with anything else.

I’d love to see this feature in Gmail Labs as a new experiment. Don’t you?

How to Fly to New York for Free

New York, the city that never sleeps. The big apple. The place you really want to be. It’s like San Francisco on black tight suits and Sinatra melodies or at least that’s how it looked to me after visited. Oh yeah, i flew to and from New York for free. This is how i do it.

Let me take you back a few years, when a dear friend of mine invited me to New York. He actually invited me to his a la NYC birthday party and offered to pay half of the air fares when i replied i’m flattered by the offer but i was on a tight budget. Food and drinks would be free, half way ticket would be free, sleeping would be free. Did i mention i’d be hanging out with a New York Times No1 selling author all the time?

By now you’d be asking yourselves how was it, if i met any hot NYC girls and if what you see in the movies is true. The honest answer is i don’t know. I don’t know because i never flew to New York even when i was paid to do so. I was stupid and coward and childish and sissy.

Moving forward to 2011 and a chance to actually be in New York popped up again but this time my financial status was even worse. I wasn’t only on a tight budget but i was slowly recovering from a 7kg weight loss in 2 months ( i only had money to eat once a day ), knee injury, personal and business issues related to Greek crisis but not only. Around this time, my crappy but loyal laptop was dying and i have to buy a new one, like, immediately. I could hardly surf the web, Gmail and chat at the same time. Spending on buying a new laptop, pay the rent and fly to New York wasn’t an option even though i already had a place to crash.

Three weeks before the opportunity was lost again i booked a round trip ticket to NY. I knew i’d have no money to pay the rent, neither enough for food but i did it. I was going to New York no matter what; and i did for free.

By the time i landed in New York i’ve realized that my dying laptop could be replaced with a new one for way less than originally thought. The exchange rate between the USD and the EUR was in favor of a crazy idea: buying a new laptop in US would cost me nearly 40% off the European price. The extra 40% could easily substitute traveling costs and possible taxes.

Here i am, in New York without spending a buck. A much needed laptop upgrade and a 7 days stay proved to cost way less than initially thought. I didn’t only killed two birds with one stone but i met some amazing people, reunited with an old friend and made a dream come true. In the mean time, my bank account went four figures high when delayed payments finally cashed in.

You can tell the view from the Empire State Building is stunning.

Human brain and singularity thoughts part one

Human brain

Human brain random thoughts and assumptions about human evolution and our brain in particular.

The human body is the most convenient and appropriate way for our species to evolve achieve two things: 1) reproduce fast and efficient enough in any terrain on the face of this planet 2) keep the human brain at its best shape possible and increase stimuli through feedback.

Human Brain Axiom

The human brain bootstraps during birth and it’s only capable of survival through constant stimuli via feedback.

Humans’ inherent need for asking questions it’s just a mechanism to keep the neurons alive and firing. Why does the human brain function in slow but massive parallelism? Is the humans’ brain massive neuron parallelism a more efficient way for developing such a great and complex organ rather than having fewer but faster neural transactions?
Does parallelism brings greater feedback input via a greater number of synapses rather than fewer but way faster ones?

In a universe with high entropy, parallelism and a great number of synapses seems to be the best way to deal with unpredictability in a total random way among the neurons. Complexity and information grows and travels way more efficiently from brain to brain, along the course of time, in such a dynamic universe ruled by entropy.

It would be a challenge for humans and machines to achieve singularity and build complex and intelligent machines as the human brain; based on massive parallelism rather than blazing fast processing units.

A great source for reading more and digging into singularity and human brain can be found at Singularity University.

The State of Android Q1 2011

There are some astonishing facts and data about Android OS. Did you know that the current Android sales outnumber the US birth rate? We make more Androids than humans, isn’t that crazy? We produce far more machines than humans and we make them faster and cheaper day by day. There’s some irony in the Android brand name not matter if it’s just a mobile operating system (for now). How about you? How do do you use Android? What do you see in the future of the platform?

Update:Soon to follow up on how the idea turned into YouTube honors and thousands of views

Greek to Finn

So far, this is the farthest i’ve gone to understand a culture. Been Greek i’m used to warm weather, not snow neither frozen cold waters. Not to mention sauna of course. Dipping to literally frozen water (there was a thin icy crust on the surface) right after i walked out the 80C Finnish sauna was quite an experience; which i myself denied 45min earlier when i was shown around the spa facilities. Don’t expect me to tell you how it feels, i’m not going to spoil the experience. If you’re not a Finn, rest assured it’s a unique one.

Excuse my F bombs. Special thanks to Claire.